Thursday, August 6, 2015

GIS4048 Final Project-Brevard County Solar Project

This Final Project was awesome! This project was a lot of work but it was a great experience. The task was to conduct a Location Decision analysis for a subject of your choice. I was excited to tackle this project and I decided to do my Location Decision analysis for a proposed Solar Center in Brevard County. I was partially influenced to select this subject because I feel strongly that we should aggressively pursue Solar Energy production and the fact that I live in Brevard County.

My "client" was the "Special Project Coordinator for Brevard County, Mr. Estrella Sol (Star Sun, pretty clever, if I do say so myself). Brevard County, through new leadership, wants to become known as the "Solar Coast" as well as the "Space Coast." At least, that is the scenario I invented for this Final Project. In reality, FPLis building new Solar Centers in DeSoto, Charlotte and Manatee Counties, and I am saying that Brevard County wants to be a part of this opportunity.  The criteria for this Solar center is:

                                   #1 The parcel must be owned by Brevard County
                                   #2 The parcel must be within 1 mile of a major road
                                   #3 The parcel must be at least 1000 yards from schools
                                   #4 The parcel must be greater than 100 acres
                                   #5 The parcel should avoid disturbing areas of 
                                        environmentally sensitive lands 

For this project I used, Geoprocessing tools such as Clip, Buffer, Euclidean Distance, ModelBuilder and Weighted Analysis. The data I used was as follows:


I was also fortunate to have the Brevard County Appraiser website available for my reference. I was able to view aerials of the Parcels I was considering for this project.

After establishing the environment and setting my projection, I used a couple of Select By Attribute searches to limit the field of possible Parcels for consideration; Brevard County has 287,853 parcels . I selected Parcels owned by Brevard County (Select By Attribute > ONAME = Brevard County; this gave me 1806 parcels) and then Parcels greater than 100 Acres (this left me with only 48 parcels). Then, I used ModelBuilder to run  a process to find the Parcels that are near (within 1 mile of) a Major Road, I-95.

The last portion of the Project Analysis was to create a Weighted Analysis model. I used the Feature to Raster tool on three datasets:

Parcels_100Acres to ConvertParcelsBC100
MajorRoads_I95 to ConvertMajorRoads
BC_schools_selection to ConvertSchools

The Weighed Analysis model produced a map that seemed to favor the largest parcels, but it was not as conclusive as I had hoped.  

Finally, I was able to use the Brevard County Appraiser's website to review aerials of several of the Parcels. I found some Parcels that looked like they met the criteria, but the aerial image showed that the parcel was actually underwater; easy to eliminate that parcel from consideration. In the end I was able to find three great parcels that met all the criteria including avoiding sensitive lands.  Here's my final map and a link to my final presentation:

This exercise and the entire course of GIS 4048 Applications in GIS, has been very illuminating. I thoroughly enjoyed studying the different GIS applications such as HomeIand Security, Natural hazards and Urban Planning. Once again, I feel like I could have spent even more time working on this final project and all of the projects throughout the semester. If I had more time on this Final Project, I could have provided a written report that included all the information from the Brevard website and I believe this would have been greatly valuable to my customer, Mr. Estrella Sol.  Also, if I had found data about soil type and slope, that too would have been very useful. We take for granted, living in Florida, that slope is not a factor, however, I know, for instance, that in the Tallahassee area “rolling hills” seem to be the norm. A solar site on the wrong side of a hill would be disastrous (better use hillside shading for this analysis). I know I have learned a lot from this course; now my challenge is to continue to use the skills I have gained. To that end I am doing volunteer work with the Brevard County GIS Department and I hope to find full-time employment in the not-too-distant-future.

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